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Afghanistan’s Buddhas blown up by the Taliban now resurrected as holograms

The 1,500-year-old Buddhas of Bamiyan, which were carved into a cliff face in Afghanistan were once the tallest sculptures in the world. In 2001, the Taliban blown them up, after they were declared to be false idols.


These idols have been gods of the infidels,” declared Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, in marking the statues for destruction. “First they fired at the Buddhas with tanks and artillery shells,” recalled one Afghan who participated in the attack. “But when that was ineffective, they planted explosives to try to destroy them.” When the Buddhas finally crumbled, Taliban fighters “were firing weapons into the air, they were dancing and they brought nine cows to slaughter as a sacrifice.” The monuments had endured for centuries, only to disappear in a matter of weeks.

But a very kind and generous Chinese couple who have explored the world together, have used a 3D laser light show to restore one of the two sacred Buddha statues.


Zhang Xinyu and Liang Hong, a millionaire couple and full-time adventurers from Beijing, were so moved on hearing about the destruction of the ancient relics that they took it upon themselves to resurrect the statues. In an interview for Daily Mail with Xinhua News Agency, Mr Zhang said:

We knew very little about Afghanistan before we came here.  ‘Our entire image of this strife-torn nation was merely about poverty and suicide attacks,’ In the same interview, Ms Liang said: ‘When I saw the smile on the people’s faces in Bamiyan, I knew what we have done is quite meaningful, not only for the Bamiyan people but also for ourselves. 

‘We wanted to find a way to help the people there and showing the Buddha by image projection was the best we could do.’ 

 Daily Mail reports: In 2005, a Japanese artist proposed a laser projection of the Buddhas but the plan was never realised. Mr Zhang and Ms Liang then decided to take on the project and add the Bamiyan Valley as another destination on the long list of places they have visited across the world. The spectacular resurrection project is part of their multi-nation tour along the ancient Silk Road.

Sam Dickson

Sam Dickson is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News